Disability and Law Enforcement Personnel: Perceptions from the Rocky Mountain Region of the USA

Summary
Law enforcement personnel must use interpersonal skills to navigate complex responsibilities and conflicting expectations when interacting with people with disabilities. More training and resources are needed.

Body

This study explores the perspectives of law enforcement personnel regarding interaction and communication with individuals with with disabilities in order to enhance training and technical assistance.

Abstract: 

Individuals with disabilities report being less satisfied with law enforcement services compared with the general population, and most law enforcement jurisdictions often lack protocols and report training and resource barriers to effective interaction and communication with individuals with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to
explore the perspectives of law enforcement personnel regarding interaction and communication with individuals with disabilities in order to enhance training and technical assistance. Data were collected from 19 law enforcement personnel who participated in focus groups in the Rocky Mountain region. Four main themes emerged from the data. The first three described professional interactions with individuals with disabilities: (1) interpersonal skills, (2) complex responsibilities, and (3) conflicting expectations. The final theme represents actionable recommendations for training and practice: (4) improvement opportunities. Implications for further assessment and training opportunities, along with future research, are provided.

Written by Rocky Mountain ADA Center Principal Investigator, Jill Bezyak, PhD, CRC, Licensed Psychologist 

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